I have a recipe for Meringue Cookies that I found online and have been dying to try...which I did last night. The recipe calls for 6 egg whites, 1½ C sugar and ½ t vanilla and an option to add 2 t instant coffee or instant flavored coffee (like Cappuccino, Mocha, etc.) for flavoring. It says to begin to beat the egg whites with a hand mixer on HIGH and slowly add the sugar, vanilla and flavoring and beat until soft glossy peaks form. I have beaten egg whites before (but not for meringue) and it only took a few minutes for them to get fluffy. Last night I ran the mixer on HIGH for 20 minutes and the egg whites were still runny...never stiffening at all. I referred to my only 2 cookbooks (Better Homes and Garden and Betty Crocker) and they both gave basically the same instructions for beating egg whites...except for the Betty Crocker cookbook which said to use a metal or glass mixing bowl and to NEVER use plastic. Since that was the first time I had seen that piece of information I had used a plastic mixing bowl. I transferred the mixture into a glass bowl and tried again but after 10 more minutes they were still runny....they hadn't even thickened even a little. Since I don't have Martha Stewart on speed dial.........I need some help.
Is there anyway of salvaging the egg white mixture? And...if not....what did I do wrong so that when I buy more eggs and sugar, etc....I don't have the same problem (I can't afford to waste 6 more eggs, etc.)?